Thoughts on OSX Lion

You may have heard that recently Apple has released OSX Lion. The new version of OSX replacing Snow Leopard. Apple has made some serious improvements to how the system  runs and it’s interface. But there are some disadvantages as well. Hopefully, This post will help you to be able to make the right decision if you should upgrade or wait.

First off, one major difference between Lion and Snow Leopard is that a lot of the functionality of iOS has now been integrated into OSX. Some of these features include the Launchpad, inverted scrolling and full screen apps. Launchpad allows you to view all of your apps in one place. Almost identical to the home screen on iOS-powered devices like the iPhone and iPad. Honestly, I don’t see any real reason to use it that much except for the eye-candy. By default, two finger scrolling is inverted from what it was in Snow Leopard. This is again to make it more like iOS. It is a bit weird to get used to at first, but it shouldn’t take too long to get used to. Thankfully, Apple has included the ability to change the scrolling back to normal if you prefer. So if you really cannot get used to it (or just don’t like it) you can change it back. Full screen apps are a huge plus for me. One thing I found annoying when using Macs over PCs was the lack of being able to use the entire screen for a window. Now with Lion, You can browse the web, or look at your mail in a full screen window. And speaking of Mail. Apple Mail has undergone a redesign to be nearly identical to the iPad mail client. It is much cleaner, and it has uncluttered a lot of unnecessary sidebars and buttons found on the older versions of mail. It allows you to view the e-mail in a much larger space than ever before if you take advantage of the full screen functionality.

One of the most powerful features in my opinion, is the ability to autosave built into the operating system. This system essentially auto-saves versions of a file which you can go back to and use simultaneously with the latest saved version. Basically, the result is that you never actually lose files even if you overwrite them.

Here’s a great video showing the capability of this functionality

This is only some of the major updates in OSX Lion. There are a plethora of other detail-oriented changes throughout the system as well. But should you upgrade?

Just because Lion is a bargain at $29.99 on the app store, does not mean you should go ahead and upgrade. There are a few reasons I would say not to upgrade (yet) to Mac OSX Lion.

  • Slow internet connection
  • Bugs
  • incompatible programs

First off, Lion is only available for download. you cannot get a CD or DVD to install it. This is convenient for those with access to fast internet connection, but it will probably take you a while to download the 4GB file if you not running on a decent connection.

Another issue is bugs. All programs have bugs, but first versions of programs typically have a lot of bugs. Thankfully, my experience has been good so far, but until updates happen. The first versions of programs can be buggy sometimes.

Finally, check and make sure all of the programs you run on your mac have Lion updates. Because Lion is a new operating system, some programs (especially large ones) may very likely be incompatible or very buggy running on Lion. In order for you to run these programs on Lion, you need to wait for the developers to create updates for Lion.

To sum up, I think Lion has some great capability, and that it is a lot better then Snow Leopard. I am a little nervous about how OSX is becoming more and more like iOS and I hope Apple will keep the two apart unless iOS starts becoming more like OSX.

You can check out all the details about Lion by watching the WWDC Keynote presentation showing all the new developments from Apple including Lion, iOS5 and iCloud.


Levels and Curves

Within Pixelmator and Photoshop, there are often unused tools called levels and curves adjustments. They are not often used because they have a overwhelming exterior interface which looks much too complicated for the average user. However, the levels and curves adjustments are simple, yet powerful toning tools that can take images from looking static, to vibrant and dynamic.
Basically, They both control contrast, but they are much more robust then your typical contrast slider. They allow you to have much more control over your image then a contrast or brightness slider would.

Levels and Curves Adjustments from Josh Koiro on Vimeo.

Masks and Selections

In this video tutorial, I’m going to show you how to create selections and masks in Pixelmator. These tools and techniques are incredibly useful for any purpose that you may be using Pixelmator. I’m a particular fan of using masks because of their non-destructive nature. Masks essentially erase portions of layers based on a greyscale image. This allows you to “paint” the opacity (or transparency) of the layer.
My hope is that by the end of the video, you will know how to use masks, and begin to use them when you’re working with images and graphics.

Masks and Selections from Josh Koiro on Vimeo.